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MEDICARE FOR ALL GOES WAY BEYOND OTHER COUNTRIES’ UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE: The Medicare for All Act, the latest proposal to have the government become the only payer of healthcare services, is often billed by its supporters as a step toward realizing a similar system that other developed nations have in place.
“I want to end the international embarrassment of the United States of America being the only major country on earth that doesn’t guarantee healthcare to all people as a right and not a privilege,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said when he unveiled the most recent version of the legislation last week.
But while other developed nations do have universal healthcare coverage, they get there in a different way than the plan laid out in the Medicare for All Act, and differ significantly from country to country.
The bill backed by Sanders and by others running for the presidency — Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and Cory Booker of New Jersey — would throw out private health insurance in favor of everyone being enrolled in a government plan. It would do away with all out-of-pocket costs for healthcare services and instead have the government pay for services in full. The plan also would cover more services than Medicare does now, including prescription drugs, dental care, vision care, abortion, and maternity care.
The proposal has no precedent among other nations.
In Canada, privately operated hospitals are funded by the government, but people still have to buy private plans to pay for dental, vision, and prescription drugs to supplement their care. Often, people can get that coverage through their jobs.
Switzerland looks a lot what backers of Obamacare had envisioned because it requires everyone living there to buy private health insurance, which is heavily regulated by the government.
Germany has health insurance that is managed by nonprofit organizations, and some residents have the option to buy private plans instead. In France, everyone must buy health insurance managed by nonprofit organizations that are mostly funded through taxes. In Singapore, people are allowed to pay more to receive deluxe care and everyone has to set aside a savings account, which can be used to help pay for medical services. In the United Kingdom, hospitals are run by the government and paid for by the government, but private plans are also available.
“Some will refer to these countries having ‘single payer’ systems, often implying they are all alike,” according to a brief from the Commonwealth Fund. “Yet such a label can be misleading, as considerable differences exist among universal healthcare systems.”
Good morning and welcome to the Washington Examiner’s Daily on Healthcare! This newsletter is written by senior healthcare reporter Kimberly Leonard (@LeonardKL) and healthcare reporter Cassidy Morrison (@CassMorrison94). You can reach us with tips, calendar items, or suggestions at email@example.com. If someone forwarded you this email and you’d like to receive it regularly, you can subscribe here.
TENNESSEE LAWMAKERS GO AFTER MEDICAID BLOCK GRANTS: A state Senate committee in Tennessee this week is considering a measure that would ask the Trump administration to structure Medicaid as a block grant. The bill already has passed the state House and Republican Gov. Bill Lee has signalled support.
Getting funding as a block grant means that states are likely to get less money from the federal government but will in exchange have more flexibility about how they spend it. The proposal upends the current model in which the federal government matches a certain percentage of Medicaid dollars for each state, regardless of how much the state spends. No state has ever received Medicaid as a block grant — though it’s a model that has wide conservative support — and Alaska is considering the move.
NEW BILL WOULD CODIFY ASSOCIATION HEALTH PLANS: Rep. Mike Burgess, R-Texas, the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, on Friday introduced legislation that would allow the formation of association health plans. On Monday, more than 20 Republicans introduced the Senate version of the legislation.
The plans, which allow individual workers and small businesses to pool together to purchase health insurance, are currently allowed under rulemaking by the Trump administration, but have been blocked by a judge.
WHITE HOUSE HOSTS SCREENING OF FILM ON KERMIT GOSNELL: The White House hosted a screening late Friday of “Gosnell,” the movie about the Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of murdering three infants who survived abortions. White House Domestic Policy Advisor Joe Grogan said that the issue of protections for abortion survivors had spurred President Trump to back new limits on abortion.
MEASLES CASES REACH A NEW HIGH: As of April 11, reported measles cases has reached 555 in 20 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is the second-highest number of cases since the disease’s elimination in 2000 with 667 in 2014. The CDC says that the latest tally is preliminary and is subject to change.
COMPANY BEHIND KIDNEY TRANSPLANT TEST SUES COMPETITOR: A diagnostics technology company, CareDx, Inc., which created a breakthrough blood test to warn doctors of imminent kidney transplant rejection, announced Wednesday it is suing competitor Natera for trying to do the same thing. CareDx lawyers say Natera’s study on their own test is “deeply flawed” and “unreliable”, meant to fool physicians and patients.
TERMINALLY ILL ADULTS IN NEW JERSEY CAN NOW CHOOSE TO DIE: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, signed off on legislation Friday that would permit terminally ill adults to end their lives with the assistance of medical professionals. Murphy, a Catholic, said in a personal statement that he struggled with the decision to approve the legislation but ultimately determined it was a personal decision. “Allowing residents with terminal illnesses to make end-of-life choices for themselves is the right thing to do,” Murphy said.
GROUND BEEF SICKENS PEOPLE IN 6 STATES: CDC: The CDC announced Friday that ground beef caused a multistate outbreak of E. coli, and the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is investigating. Although the CDC has not determined the source of the ground beef involved in the outbreak, the agency is not encouraging retailers to put a hold on selling the meat.
WHO SAYS CONGO EBOLA OUTBREAK NOT INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY: The World Health Organization announced Friday that it would not designate the ebola outbreak in the Congo as a global health emergency, despite the 1,100 cases in the country as of last week. Because the outbreak, which has been ongoing since August, hasn’t spread beyond the DRC, “we considered there would be no added benefit by declaring [an emergency],” said Robert Steffen, chair of the WHO-convened committee of external experts that deliberated over the emergency declaration.
GEORGE CONWAY ESCALATES ATTACK ON TRUMP’S MENTAL STATE: George Conway, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's husband, gave another scathing evaluation of Trump's mental state Saturday evening after the president criticized the New York Times on Twitter. "Lies, half-truths, exaggerations, distortions...things that randomly pop into his mind that he thinks sound good at any particular moment, random babble—all of [these] things swirl around in his head in an endless jumble," Conway tweeted.
EDITORIAL: FREE AMERICANS FROM MEDICARE
The Wall Street Journal In new Ebola outbreak, health-care workers come under attack
Kaiser Health News Watchdogs cite lax medical and mental health treatment of ICE detainees
The Associated Press Unsuccessful abortions focus of bill in N. Carolina senate
NPR Supporters sue to open safe injection site in Philadelphia, citing religious freedom
The New York Times V.A. officials, and the nation, battle an unrelenting tide of veteran suicides
MONDAY | April 15
House and Senate in recess.
WEDNESDAY | April 17
Noon. Dirksen G-50. Alliance for Health Policy event on “Right Care, Right Patient, Right Time: The Role of Comparative Effectiveness Research.” Details.
THURSDAY | April 18
Noon. 215 Massachusetts Ave. NE. Heritage Foundation event on “Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence.” Details.